Picking at the bloated carcass of geek culture...occasionally!!!

The Most Precious Commodity

In Roleplaying Games on April 9, 2010 at 12:17 am

I love playing roleplaying games. It’s easily one of my favorite hobbies. Most games fall somewhere between creating original genre narrative fiction and playing a tactical combat simulation. Some games fall more to the story, others to the combat. I’m having a good time anywhere on that spectrum. Yet, compared to movies, video games, or TV, I don’t play a ton. Usually a night every other week, which compared to many other gamers and ex-gamers, this is pretty good. But I don’t play as much as I’d like and most gamers I know are in a similar situation. Why?

Well, one major reason is that gaming is a collaborative process. You need a group of like-minded individuals to make a good game happen. This means finding a time when a group of adults can find a significant chunk of time to sit down. This was a piece of cake when you’re in middle school. But even by high school, when guys are getting girlfriends or perhaps finding the charms of going out or just outgrowing the activity, it gets trickier. By adulthood, it can be near impossible. Why? Because one needs to find the time.

And this is the problem. A friend…okay it was Noah, said the other day that no one has spare time. No just sits staring at a wall. When not working or sleeping, we have specific things we choose to do with our precious time. And gaming takes time. Not just finding time, but deciding to spend many hours playing. RPG’s, for those whom haven’t played in a while, kill time like nothing else. Several hours can pass in what feels like a moment. Who has the time?

Besides the actual game session, the person running the game has to create a narrative, structure it into a game session, break it down into game statistics, and organize the gaming aids necessary to run it. This is an extra burden and often a thankless job for one player, requiring even more time.

So, while I wish we all had more time to play, I feel thankful that I get to play as much as I do. You need to make time for the good things in life.

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  1. Isn’t it just like Noah to piss on your parade?

    Punch him for me.

  2. Yeah dude, I hear ya….I think another problem older gamers have..or at least I do…is that I’m really picky. I want to play, but I usually only want to play a very specific type of game….this doesn’t have so much to do with genre, but it might be the mix of style and mechanics. After a 3 year D&D game in philly that was a great mix of role playing, mystery/puzzle solving and combat, I took a break. My first jump back in was into a 4th edition game and I was excited to play around with the new rules and try a different type of character on for size ( a barbarian soldier who was teamed with a tiefling warlord) I tried to make the most of like…this buddy thug cop chemistry with this lady who was a first time player….but stuff just dragged. There were a bunch of people new to D&D, or who hadn’t played in 20 years. So I was impatient. worst of all, the DM while totally a sweet dude was pretty ill equipped at like….improvising. I can’t stress how important this is. I think more than any rules mastery, it’s the ability for a story teller to just make shit up on the fly that can make for the most fun games. I like games to be collaborative, It can also be discouraging when the other players in your group…just aren’t all that interested in having their characters talk to anyone or engage in the story. Yeah so after a couple of seshes I bailed. My friend alex is trying to play a AD&D 2nd edition game….I am curious but also dreading the idea of working thaco and proficiency slots back into my active memory….
    Mediocre gaming makes the potential investiture of time that much more scary….if the game ends up being boring do i really want to bend over backwards and sink hours into a hobby that is only sometimes rewarding?

    was noah farting on getting mutants and masterminds back together? I still think about those characters a ton…are you thinking of writing something with them again??

    • No, I feel like I misrepresented Noah. I just meant that he made the point that there is no such thing as “free time,” aka you always fill your time with something and you need to cut back on one thing if you want to add another. Not only did Noah NOT fart on a M&M game, we are actively working on getting a game night back together. So I will hold off on punching him.

      Yeah, we’re actively creating a game about B-listers trying to take care of their depressed city in an imaginary city in Oklahoma. It’s going well. Hopefully we’ll have a good brainstorming session in the very near future.

      • Oh… well… ok, I guess. I mean, you can STILL punch for me, if you want. I don’t mind.

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